Sports & Politics
Marx once wrote “religion was the opiate of the masses.” If he were writing today he might add sports. Few activities generate as much attention and passion as sports. From March Madness to the Super Bowl, there is enormous media coverage. Athletes are objects of adoration and idolization, that is, as long as they don’t stumble off their pedestals. O.J. Simpson. Mike Tyson, Pete Rose and Mark McGuire are among those who have fallen from grace. Sports stars are often confined to just talking about their profession. They are not to have any political interests or heaven forbid actual opinions on important issues of the day. However, today some athletes are breaking from the mode, in the tradition of Muhammad Ali, and are speaking out.
Dave Zirin is the award-winning sports editor of The Nation magazine. He is the author of many books including A People’s History of Sports in the United States and The Kaepernick Effect: Taking a Knee, Changing the World. He also hosts The Edge of Sports podcast.